Glue Selections for Vinyl

We've had to do some research on glue for vinyl, because vinyl dolls have peculiar requirements. We have learned (the hard way) that you can't use common household or craft glues on vinyl, or else your wigs and other things will fall off within months (or even a few days.)

Vinyl has oils in it which work against most adhesives. In fact, if you know of a glue that will stick to vinyl reliably, then it will probably stick to anything else as well!

Vinyl and rubber are a class by themselves, and they are different from plastic. Things that work with plastic may not work with vinyl. But, if an adhesive will work with rubber then it is probably good for vinyl as well. Both have oils in them, and the oil is what breaks down the adhesives.
I haven't been satisfied with the long term durability of any of the CLEAR craft glues, including E6000. I've stopped using CLEAR glue for doll wigs. I do use E6000 a lot, but I don't use it directly on vinyl anymore. I can pretty much guarantee that E6000 will give out within a year, when applied to vinyl. Possibly much sooner than that.

My favorite glues for vinyl come from the hardware store: Cove Base adhesive, and I also like Liquid Nails. Liquid Nails is the putty color stuff used for construction purposes. It comes in a toothpaste style tube as well as caulking gun cartridges.

My current favorite for DOLL WIGS is vinyl Cove Base adhesive such as the Henry brand. Vinyl cove base is vinyl molding that is glued at the base of walls, along the floor. You see it in most commercial buildings. Vinyl cove base is made specifically for vinyl, so cove base adhesive works great on vinyl dolls, too. Both Liquid Nails and Cove Base adhesive give off fumes until they are fully cured, which is a few days.

Vinyl cove base comes in a quart size tub for $5. It's creamy, thick and really gives a tight bond. Vinyl cove base adhesive is easier to work with than Liquid Nails because you can clean up with with soap and water while it's still fresh and soft. (You will need a solvent such as mineral spirits to clean up Liquid Nails.) Cove Base adhesive is waterproof once it dries. Be sure to clean your hands immediately after using Cove Base adhesive, and it will clean up easily.

Craft store glues don't seem to be a good choice for vinyl, including E6000 or any of the other clear adhesives which are touted as being extremely powerful. Liquid Nails has a CLEAR formula that seems to be almost exactly like E6000, so be sure to buy the original Liquid Nails instead; it looks like tan-gray putty. Perhaps the clear adhesives work well in the beginning but after a year, the oil in vinyl works against it and whatever I glued on the vinyl does fall off. If you're making doll items to sell, this is not a good thing.

Liquid Nails info doesn't mention that it can be used with vinyl, but I have noticed that it forms an extremely strong bond with vinyl and actually seems to become part of it: Liquid nails WELDS with vinyl. Liquid Nails is MORE than mere adhesive! (This is the putty color formula, NOT the clear formula.)

I use Liquid Nails when I'm glue-ing DOLL EYES or MAGNETS inside the dolls head, where the adhesive won't be seen. If you are replacing eyes in a vinyl doll, Liquid nails can form a new skin around the back of the eyeball, to hold it firmly in place.

These hardware adhesives are putty or creamy color and don't show when used underneath wigs. So, this is what I'm currently recommending for wigs, and since I don't have a wholesale source for either of these adhesives, it's best to look for them at the hardware store. I've even seen Liquid Nails at Winn Dixie.

2-PART EPOXY adhesives come in a set of two tubes. You mix a small amount of the chemical from each tube together. I use a paper plate and plastic spoon so I don't have to touch anything, because epoxy is powerful stuff! Then, I can throw the leftover away.

Two part epoxy is stronger than superglue (if you buy one of the reputable brands.) I use 2-part epoxy when working with MAGNETS. Magnets have a power of their own, so you have to select adhesives that will withstand all the magnetic attraction.


We have tried several of the white craft glues, but when it comes right down to it, you can't beat good ol' Elmer's Glue-All. This is not the School Glue, which is a wimpy washable formula for kids. Old-fashioned Glue-All is an all-purpose household glue that dries clear and bonds tight.

Elmer's is a very respected name in glue. Woodworkers rely heavily on the Elmer's brand wood glue because of it's tight bond. And, reborners have found that Elmer's Glue-All works better than any of the other white craft glues that are out there.

Primarily, we use Elmer's Glue-All for glueing eyelashes to our dolls.

Click here to learn How to Attach Eyelashes

Copyright (c) 2002, 2012 Cynthia Stevens All Rights Reserved